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Umgeni mayor Christopher Pappas. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU.
Umgeni mayor Christopher Pappas. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU.

An internal investigation by Umngeni municipality in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands has uncovered widespread malaise within the council’s youth office in the run-up to the local government election two years ago.

Mayor Christopher Pappas on Thursday disclosed overpricing and unfair selection of service providers was rife in the office. He said the irregularities transpired before the election, which saw the ANC dislodged by the DA.

“There has been abuse of the R200,000 quotation whereby tenders have been illegally split and the process not properly followed in the awarding of contractors,” Pappas said.

The investigation also found some contractors had been paid despite work not having been fully completed.

Pappas said this pointed to the manipulation of the supply chain management processes. A lucrative security tender was cancelled after the municipality requested that the provincial treasury investigate irregularities surrounding it.

“The treasury confirmed our suspicions and the process was cancelled. We have since started a process anew in a move to correct what we had found in the past,” Pappas said.

At least three municipal workers have resigned while two others have been placed on suspension by the municipality.

Pappas said the municipality was forging ahead with overhauling its consequence management. That entailed enhancing internal controls through the audit committee, the municipal public accounts committee, the municipal board and the rules and ethics committee.

“We have also identified weak internal systems and controls that have made it easy for people to get away with dodgy practices,” he said.

While admitting consequence management was not only about firing or and hauling employees before disciplinary procedures, it was found no training and development had taken place in Umngeni. In some cases corruption and fraud had not taken place but general error and lack of knowledge.

“In these cases we assess if there was a material loss to the municipality and what corrective action we can take which is fair,” Pappas said.

He said their primary goal was to ensure there was value for money service delivery that was transparent.

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